9 Things I Learned About Concert Photography
Industry Insight: Concert Photography
March 28, 2018
5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Maize Collective is “an open and inclusive community of music lovers, artists, producers and creatives,” according to their website. I can attest to that fact. I graduated with my second masters from there back in the dinosaur days and was able to attend these sessions without any hassle.
Here is a quick list of the things that resonated with me:
Advice for photographing for clients: Ask them what their budget is before you give a price. If they say they have no budget, decide for yourself if them giving you credit is enough. If not, walk away before you go any further with them.
When seeking a chance to photograph a brand name band, Ohryn suggests that you attend the Meet and Greet prior to the show. She says that often, you can meet the band themselves and they may give you permission (and a press pass) to photograph the concert.
Doug Coombe's Jack White photo
Another suggestion for ways to “become” a paid concert photographer is to put together a mini-portfolio borne out of photographing a band’s concert for free. Having an amazing set of photographs—that even band members will rave about and share—can’t hurt your chances of snagging more gigs.
You’ve heard the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, band photos REALLY are, since they determine if someone is going to say “Hell, yeah!” or “Hell, no!” to listening to your kick-ass music. Don’t forget to take heed to these important tips, in order to “get it right.” Check out this checklist of 15 valuable tips. http://www.bloomingprejippie.com/betterbandphotos
Yet another suggestion to get started is to photograph local, up and coming bands to develop a rapport with the bands, the venues, and that photographing friends in bands is the gift that keeps on giving; you can enjoy their music, they get free photographs, you build your portfolio, and they rave about (and share) your work.
The consensus of the group seemed to be that it benefits the photographer to do as much research as possible—songs, set list, previous shows, dance moves, solos, etc.—so that you may be able to plan shots (based on what they have done previously). Ohryn had a delightful story about her experience getting this supercool shot below at the Wiz Khalifa concert. She knew that he does this spitting the water out move during every concert and was poised to catch it.
Taylor Ohryn's Wiz Khalifa photo
The topic of social media got mixed reviews with this panel. Some panelists discounted it, some were wary of it, while others touted its amazing generative powers—hence, one of the photographers posted a photo on Instagram, went to bed, and woke up with thousands of likes and hundreds of shares. However, there is the negative side, where folks start using your work without permission (and without licensing), and even worse, using your work and claiming it as their own. –You all know my thoughts on this; no one can be you and if they have to keep coming back to steal, it must mean you have some killer talent, so do a better job of watermarking and pat yourself on the back, ‘cause you gon’ make some mullah off this! —Anyway, I guess you will have to decide how you feel about this. I still think social media is one of the best ways to let the world know you exist, but that’s just me….
As far as an alternative method of sharing your work—and files—with folks, a website called “Zenfolio” (https://en.zenfolio.com/) was mentioned. It is a professional photo sharing site, where you can send a private link to a band to see the photos you’ve taken of them and telling them the rates for use of these files. There is a monthly fee to use this service (that starts at $5 and goes up from there).
Brian Rozman's photo
The panel geeked out when it came to discussing preferred equipment for fledgling concert photographers. I have to admit that I kinda zoned out on this part, since it became a war of this brand versus that brand and/or the debate about whether it’s the lens that is more important than the actual camera. (Ohryn did make a good case for having a diminutive camera, though, since she used to sneak it into concerts and needed something powerful enough, but low profile enough to get the job done. She swears by her Sony Alpha 5000.) Suffice it to say, that is a journey each photographer must be prepared to partake on his or her own, as I am woefully unequipped to weigh heavily in here.
Finally, in order to keep track of all these luscious concert photographs—up to 2,000 in one night, according to Ohryn—so that you will be able to find them years from now, it was suggested that photographers use a photo file organizing app like Adobe Lightroom or use cloud storage. In any case, be sure they are keyword tagged and catalogued well. Also, be sure to back them up in more than one place, in case one of the storage methods fail.
Alexandre Da Veiga's Lizzo photo
All in all, I absolutely loved learning about these photographers and their methods. –My favorite question (and answers) were when they each told about technology gone wrong and/or what is the worst thing that happened to you in a photoshoot. –More than any of that, though, is just have people share their passion for being creative and knowing that you can make a life for yourself doing what you love.
I can’t wait for the next time the Maize Collective hosts an event.
Featured panelists included:
-Alexandre Da Veiga
As always, I have added Maize Collective to the Muse Queue.
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